If you were hungry, would you deny yourself food because you were hungry?
If you were thirsty, would you deny yourself drink because you were thirsty?
If you needed a blood transfusion, would you deny yourself blood because you needed it?
You wouldn’t starve yourself to death to punish yourself for being an “innately hungry person”.
You wouldn’t dehydrate yourself to punish yourself for being “born with thirsty genes”.
You wouldn’t deny blood to someone because he showed “no signs of a talent for not needing blood transfusions”.
So why do we do this with languages and other large-scale habits and skills — indeed with long-term projects in general?
Why do we practice this mindless, illogical “mob triage” on ourselves ?
Surely the thirstiest man should get a drink?
Surely the hungriest child should get a bite to eat?
Surely the hot chick who’s bleeding to death should get the blood she needs because she will bleed to death otherwise?
Surely the thing that’s going to take the longest to do should enjoy as early a start and as many starts as possible? — kind of like how we stick the biggest suitcase into the trunk first, and then fit the small stuff around it…kind of like how we stick the rock into the jar first, and then fit the pebbles around it.
Sucking at something is a natural — but temporary — state. It can only become permanent if we choose to make it so. Once we starve the child to death, whatever food we throw at her thereafter shall be of no use.
If you still, relatively speaking, suck at a language, then feed yourself the language in a biologically appropriate (i.e. tasty i.e. fun) form until you are no longer hungry…until you no longer suck.
We often run away when we suck. But maybe that’s exactly when we should be staying. Just as no animal needs its parents’ attention more than when it’s a baby, you, a virtual (but very real) Japanese baby, need all the Japanese you can get right here, right now, right when you suck, precisely because you suck, because you are hungry, because you are weak, because you are vulnerable, because you were not born in Japan, because you were not raised in Japan, because your Japanese baby will die if you don’t feed her — regularly. Multiple times per day. You need Japanese and you need it badly. In fact, you need it more than a “real” Japanese person does: they’ve had their fill; they can wait. Many of you have gone the entire first 10, 20, 30, 40 or more years of your life, without Japanese. Enough is enough. Eat.
It’s one thing for a fully grown, healthy, strong, “well-fed” Japanese person, born and raised in Japan, to go hours and days and weeks and even months without Japanese. But that kind of neglect would kill a baby.
No group in society contributes less and takes more than babies[*]. Yet they get all that food, love and attention. Your Japanese — the Japanese baby inside of you — won’t give back to you for a long time yet; it’ll take and take and take…and all you’ll have to show for it is the enjoyment you get out of it. But that doesn’t mean you should ignore her until she’s “big enough”. If you wait until she’s big to start taking care of her, she’ll never get to be big. She’ll just die. She needs you now.
Feed the baby. Water the baby. Feed yourself Japanese.
Infanticide = very uncool. Stop killing babies.